Big Game V – Chapter Fifty Five: End of Line

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+++Brother Ansheth+++

The sound flooded the Techpriest’s mind, dim but forceful like a memory uncovered.  It was a voice he knew all too well.

+++Your betrayal is… disappointing, Brother. Did you think we would not know?  Did you think I would not know?+++

Ansheth flailed wildly, trying to scream, but his vox-larynx had been silenced by the same rogue programs that coursed through his systems. He could feel them failing now. Blood thickened in his veins as the pumps set deep within his chest sputtered to a halt. Tubing wound within his stomach cavity began to heat and boil away, spill its hot contents into soft, unshielded flesh. Foam and bile leaked from his nostrils and eyes as his body choked on its own waste.

+++The madmen of Lorgar are not interested in our bodies, Ansheth, only the vague powers of the soul. Their interests and our own do not come into conflict. Our pact allows us the latitude to pursue our goals unfettered by the Sicarii. You would have us put back into the shackles which we left so long ago? You would see our brilliance enslaved to the schemes of those who do not understand our ends? All that we have worked for, Ansheth, for millennia now, you would see rent asunder for a taste of power? For the sake of those hollow instincts we have given our lives to ending, you would betray us to the sickening fate of the rest of mankind?+++

Ansheth’s mind pleaded with the voice for mercy, sobbed apologies and platitudes, but he knew that no living thing spoke to him. The message had been left, his death another of the banal certainties that his order had taken for granted.

+++Then do as you wish, Brother Ansheth. Give your body and your mind to Gorath and his own, if that is your intent. We of the Mechanicum free you of your obligation to our Order. But we do not allow those who fall from our ranks to keep our gifts. Your fate is your own, Ansheth, but these machines within you belong to us. Farewell, Brother. I do hope that your ambition will sustain you, for there is precious little else in this universe that can.  End of line.+++

The voice vanished from his mind, and left only blackness in its wake. As the chemicals and natural fluids began to eat away at his flesh, Ansheth brought his head back hard against the rocky walls of the cavern again and again, using all the strength in his body to try and to dash his own brains out against the stone. At least this way, he thought with the last coherent parts of his mind, he would not drown in his own excrement.

He was wrong.

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